West Virginia Record

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Woman says she was fired for perceived lesbianism

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 20, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County woman is suing the Bob Burdette Center after she claims the board members fired her because they believed she was a lesbian after looking at her Facebook profile.

Norman Cannada, Jean Cunningham, Mark Miller, Samuel Sommerville and Lisa Thomas were also named as defendants in the suit.

On May 8, the Center announced in the classified section of the local newspaper that it was seeking candidates for the position of executive director of the Center and that a search committee comprised of members of the Board would be accepting resumes until May 26, so Jessica A. Hudson applied for the position, according to a complaint filed Aug. 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Hudson claims the Center was impressed with her interviews and hired her on June 13, but that she advised them that she had to give her current employer two weeks' notice and that she would be able to attend meeting and work part time until the two weeks were up.

On June 20, the defendants called and informed Hudson that the job offer was rescinded because of "'inconsistencies' in her resume and 'misrepresentations' allegedly made" during her interviews, according to the suit.

Hudson claims the board members' real reason for firing her was because they perceived her as a lesbian after looking at her Facebook profile.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation violates the intent of other public policy, according to the suit.

Hudson claims the defendants' actions caused her emotional distress.

Hudson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages; front pay and back pay; and an order barring the center from discriminating. She is being represented by Ricklin Brown and Sherrie A. Armstrong.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1493

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